I am the crimson fire stroking through the thin walls
You are the black and white bricks that topple over as my flames stampede against you
We are the group of people who stand outside the inferno, not bothering to remove our overpriced phones from our jeans stitched with luxury
He is the fireman who tells her that the hoses will not turn on—repeating, not our district, not my job
She is the single mother who knows that after the fire conquers her home, all she will have to give her daughters is the ten dollar bill in her dark blue light sweater
I feel her agony climb up her cherry arteries, freezing within her, petrifying each of her limbs
I see your apathy, your entertainment in doing something other than scooping and shoving spoiled tots into and out of SUVs, meeting the girls at Starbucks, stuffing the cell phone of your porky husband after reading the message that yes he is cheating on you, and yes, it is your 11 year old’s tutor
I smell the billows of dissolved fire and home rippling through the daughter’s school bus, through her mouth and ears as she listens and repeats: it smells like smoke, it smells like smoke, what is burning?
I hear the words of the mother telling her girl “Today our house burned down…” echo through the vanilla walls of the elementary school nurse’s office and the silence, the violent silence, the silence beating down on them, over and over
I experience kindergarten for the second time.